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MDC Virtual College Director Elected Chair of Florida Distance Learning Consortium

Ruth_Ann_Balla-Virtual College*

Ruth Ann Balla, executive director of the Virtual College at Miami Dade College.

Miami, August 9, 2011 - Ruth Ann Balla, executive director of the Virtual College at Miami Dade College (MDC) was recently elected chair of the Florida Distance Learning Consortium (FDLC)

The election of Balla and another college administrator from the University of North Florida was the first election held under a new organizational structure where the Consortium elects a Chair biennially from the membership, rotating between Florida College System and State University System representatives.  

The primary function of the FDLC is to serve in an advisory capacity to the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors, through its executive committee and chancellors of higher education regarding, but not limited to, the following: 

• Recommending goals, strategies, and required resources to inform the development of both system-level and statewide strategic plans for distance learning and the use of e-learning

• Identifying methods that will improve student access to and completion of undergraduate distance learning courses and degree programs

• Identifying and evaluating new technologies and instructional methods that can be used for improving distance learning instruction, student learning, and the overall quality of undergraduate distance learning courses and degree programs

• Identifying opportunities for shared services and resources across educational sectors, including K-12 when appropriate

• Developing and implementing a streamlined, automated, online registration process for undergraduate students who wish to enroll in courses listed in the Florida Higher Education Distance Learning Catalog 

Balla joined MDC in 2006 and has since used her leadership and technical expertise to reorganize its distance education program. During her tenure as executive director, enrollment at MDC’s Virtual College has more than doubled. With more than 25 years’ experience in higher education, Balla has held both faculty and administrative positions at various institutions.

She started her career as member of the computer science faculty at North Carolina State University and later served as director of academic computing and CIO at Meredith College. Balla also worked as a CIO and Regional Manager for Collegis and then SunGard, providing IT support to higher education institutions. She earned a B.S. from Wilkes University and a Master’s from North Carolina State University.

 For more information about the Florida Distance Learning Consortium, please visit   

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist

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